Install / switch / manage WordPress in German
WordPress German Installation Themes Plugins Templates Support Help

WordPress can speak German and is available in German by default in addition to the default language (English). But how does that work and how do I activate it correctly?

Install / switch / manage WordPress in German

To use WordPress in German, the German WP version should be downloaded directly.
This installation always contains all current language files.

  1. The German WordPress installation file is available here:
  2. At the top right you will find the download file by clicking the "Get WordPress" button
  3. After downloading, unzip the .ZIP file
  4. Via an FTP program (example: fileZilla) to the FTP server (hosting).

Once the files are uploaded to the directory, the installation can begin. These refer to the entire content of the backend (dashboard) as well as to the current WordPress themes and are in most cases also compatible with German WordPress plugins and translate them at the same time.

How to change the language in WordPress to German

If WordPress was already set up in the original version, you can of course change the language to German later. For this purpose, the corresponding language files must be downloaded and made available on the FTP server. The most important step is then to adapt the configuration file wp-config.php and to provide the defined constant WPLANG with the value de_DE.

The following snippet can be used in wp-config.php:

define ('WPLANG', 'de_DE');

After this setting, the backend (dashboard) should appear in German. In the frontend (website) it depends on the theme whether this already contains a German translation. The translations of the standard themes are already included in the German language file and only need to be copied to the theme folder/languages/ after the download. By the way, the /languages/ folder works within each theme!

Select the language of the page in the dashboard

In the latest WordPress versions you can also find the language setting in the dashboard under Settings > General. Here you can select your preferred language under the item Language of the page and thus change the value WPLANG in the database. The constant in the wp-config.php file is not affected by this change.

If you have not downloaded and installed the "WordPress-DE" edition, the website and backend dashboard will be displayed in English or another language. In order to convert your WordPress system to German, you then need the German language file individually.

You should ensure that a German language file does not affect the language embedded in the WordPress theme.
If you also want to translate your English WordPress theme, you will need the German language file created in the theme folder. However, many English WordPress themes do not have a German translation. Therefore, you can alternatively opt for a German topic.

Download the latest German language file from the WordPress official website.
It is important that you select the file that corresponds to your WordPress version.

To the German WordPress version

  1. Unpack the downloaded ZIP directory on your local hard drive
  2. Now create a language directory (if it doesn't already exist) in which the language file will be recorded. To do this, create the "languages" directory (without the quotes) in the "wp-content" directory. It should look like this: "/wp-content/languages​​/"
  3. FTP all files with the extension ".mo" to the "languages" directory you created.
    This includes the files:
  4. Next, open the WordPress configuration file “wp-config.php” located in the root of the installation with a text editor. The already installed Windows editor or "NotePad ++" is suitable for this.
  5. Use Notepad to edit the line "define ('WPLANG', ");" to "define ('WPLANG', 'de_DE');" (without the quotes). In the PHP command, notice that you don't specify a file extension.
  6. Once you have successfully edited the wp-config.php file, save the change and upload the file again using FTP.

Your dashboard is now displayed in German. If you use a German default theme, its homepage will also be displayed in German.
If you have changed the language of WordPress to German, you should adapt the functionality of your site/blog to your needs.

WordPress setting You and Her (polite)

By default, the German version of the language pack includes the informal language file (Du). You can replace it or, better yet, add it to the formal form of address (you). A language fallback or language switcher is necessary and useful for this.

In the case of a WooCommerce online shop WooCommerce Germanized* and German Market a simple import function from de_DE_formal with one click.

The official German WordPress help offers a large community for self-help.
By the way, if you would like to actively work on a translation, you can here. do.

By the way: There are translation files in German for many free and premium templates. Otherwise helps Loco Translate for easy translation as a plugin.

WordPress Translate Plugin Loco Translate for Plugins, Themes & WooCommerce

To the WordPress Premium Templates*

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Florian Ibe
Florian Ibe
is the founder and owner of pictibe. He describes himself as one of the lucky ones who were able to turn their hobby into a career. His daily task is to reduce complex relationships to the essentials and to develop a direct message for customers and employees.

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